The English Premier League season is in full swing, and our club Arsenal are right in the thick of things. When we went to see them play in London last year, we made sure to get lots of photos of their stadium. Here’s the famous Clock End:
Arsenal’s previous and much-beloved stadium, Highbury, was the site of the original Clock End, so named when a large clock (much like the one in the picture) was placed above the south terrace. It became such an institution, that when Arsenal moved to the new stadium in 2006, the clock came along too.
Last Saturday saw Arsenal play their first home game of the 2011-12 Premier League Season. It’s Arsenal’s 125th anniversary season, and most of the home matches of those 125 seasons were played here:
Highbury Stadium was the home of Arsenal between 1913 and 2006. After the team moved in 2006, the site was redeveloped into luxury apartments, but the art deco facade from the 1930s is a “listed building” (essentially it is on the United Kingdom’s version of the US National Register of Historic Buildings) so it was incorporated into the new apartments and still stands.
After watching Arsenal play in their new stadium, we walked the few blocks to Highbury and took some pictures, of which this is my favorite.
Have you noticed that the MLS season is starting soon? I’ve been aware of it for quite a long while now. And because I like to go all out with this sort of thing, I decided to read up a bit on soccer before going to see my first ever in-person professional match. (Seattle Sounders FC vs New York Red Bull! Thursday, 6 PM PST on ESPN2! Tune In!)
There aren’t too many books out about MLS yet – it’s still a pretty new league – but most books about soccer and its place in the world have a chapter about soccer in the US. They usually talk about why soccer isn’t popular in America (it is seen as a game for foreigners, or for little kids, or for girls, or for guys “too weak” for American football) and sometimes they talk about the North American Soccer League (NASL). It’s interesting to read these takes on soccer, as they are generally written by authors that aren’t from the United States.
For 86 minutes on Tuesday, it looked like Arsenal might find a way to drop points to Dynamo Kiev. The Gunners kept creating chances, and then whiffing on the actual scoring. While a 0-0 draw isn’t the end of the world for Arsenal in Champions League, with the form they’ve been in recently, it seemed to me that they could cough it up at any minute, and go down by a goal or two. And another loss is definitely not what the side or the fans would even want to contemplate. There were empty seats at the Not-Highbury-Anymore Stadium, and that, more than anything, shows how poorly the side have been playing as of late. So, for 86 minutes, I was frustrated and anxious, expecting another disappointment.
The man next to me in the pub had just announced that Nicklas Bendtner was “absolutely worthless” (echoing my own thoughts) when a long pass from Fabregas was taken by Bendtner and put away in a corner of the net. It held up for the last few minutes, and now Arsenal are going on to the next stage in the Champions League. It was nice to see a win. Now, I hope that the Gunners can build on this success and grab another win on Sunday against Chelsea.
COME ON YOU GUNNERS!
It’s been a pretty bad sports year for me. All of the Seattle teams have been having a hard time wining games, so I’ve been paying even more attention to Arsenal, who can generally be counted on to be competitive in the Premiereship. I got to see a great win in Champions League play against Fenerbache, and Arsenal beat manchester united which is always cause for rejoicing. But recently, Arsenal have not been on form. The last two matches I watched, against Aston Villa and Manchester City have featured a lackluster Arsenal side who can’t seem to create many chances, let alone score goals.
Now, there have been some key injuries for Arsenal: Adebayor has been out for awhile, and Theo Walcott has dislocated his shoulder. But the other Gunners are supposed to be quality footballers, so I’m pretty disappointed that they can’t seem to mesh together and play well.
Here’s hoping the Gunners can pull together for the match on Sunday against Chelsea. Perhaps they’ll realize that this is a big one, and they can’t go fannying about the pitch against a talented side like Chelsea. We’ll see.
COME ON YOU GUNNERS!